We’ve all had a smelly trash can at some time or another. Trash can stench is something to be ashamed of, but it doesn’t have to be tolerated. Become an expert in trash can cleaning and eliminating garbage can stink at its source.

What You’ll Need to Clean Your Trash Can Efficiently

Before you can get down to business and start cleaning your trash can, you’ll need certain materials. Here’s a list of things to have on hand before cleaning out your trash can.

  • Rubber gloves
  • Garden hose
  • A disinfectant spray or all-purpose cleaner
  • Baking soda (not necessary)
  • A sponge or microfiber towel
  • Paper towels

How to Clean a Trash Can in 5 Easy Steps

Even if you don’t want to clean a stinky trash can, the good news is that it isn’t difficult. If you follow these five simple measures, your trash can will be cleaned and odorless in no time.

Step 1: Clean out the Trash Can

It’s critical to empty your trash can completely before cleaning it. Put on your rubber gloves and remove any remaining food particles or debris that may have fallen into the container as usual.

Step 2: Allow it to air-dry.

To wash your can, fill it with water and let it soak for a few minutes before draining off the water. If you have an outside space, rinsing your can using a garden hose is the best method. Otherwise, you may use the toilet to rinse out your trash can in the bathroom.

Step 3: Deodorize

When the trash can has been washed, use any type of disinfectant spray or all-purpose cleaner to clean the inside and outside. If you truly want to make your trash can smell new, take a quarter cup of baking soda and sprinkle it in there. Allow 5–10 minutes for the cleaner/deodorizer to work.

Step 4: Scrub it

The most time-consuming aspect of trash can cleaning is scrubbing it out. You may use a sponge, a microfiber towel, or a bristle brush for this step; just make sure to clean the outside of the trash can as well as its lid!

Step 5: Rinse and dry the braid.

When the can is clean enough, rinse it again thoroughly — either with your garden hose or in the bathtub — and then dry it off with paper towels or an old towel. Make sure you don’t put a new trash bag in until it’s totally dry to avoid mold developing on the lid.

Want a Professional Trash Bin Company to Help?

There are companies you can hire that will come professionally clean your trash bin once per month using high-end commercial equipment. For example, there is a company in North Carolina that uses high-speed, high-pressure equipment to spray your cans in as little as 2 minutes. Here is a list of their services:

Trash Bin Cleaning Service


New Bern





Moorehead City

Trent Woods


Cove City

How to Get Rid of a Buried Trash Can That Is Reaching Critical Condition

You may not be able to entirely eliminate trash can stench, but there are a few simple habits you may put in place that will help you avoid having a stinky trash can for as long as possible between cleanings.

Use a Trash Bag with an Odor-Cleaning Material

What’s the easiest way to keep a stinky trash can at bay? Invest in a garbage bag with heavy-duty leak and odor protection, such as Glad Kitchen ForceFlexPlus Trash Bags or scented kitchen trash bags, to eliminate both garbage and odors from your home.

Regularly Wipe It Out

To avoid the need for a full-scale cleaning of your trash can as frequently, make it a habit to perform a “mini cleaning” each time you take out the garbage. Simply spray the interior of your trash can with disinfectant and clean it out immediately before replacing your trash bag.

Deodorize Your Garbage Can

Sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom of your trash can if you want to clean it every few weeks. If you don’t clean your bin often, beware of it clumping up and turning into a mess. Other deodorizing ideas include putting dryer sheets or cat litter in the bottom of your trash can.

Mold in Your Trash Can: How to Prevent It

Mold can grow in a dirty trash can, which is bad news for your health. The CDC warns that mold may cause a stuffy nose, wheezing, and red, itchy eyes; and that it can be even more harmful to someone with a mold allergy or weakened immune system. Here are some easy methods for preventing a large Mold infestation.